Hello there and welcome to Sports Mole
's live text coverage of this evening's Premier League encounter between Chelsea
and Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. We should have some team news for you in the next few minutes...
SUNDERLAND: Mannone; Vergini, Alonso, Brown, O'Shea; Cattermole, Colback, Larsson, Johnson; Borini, Wickham
SUNDERLAND SUBS: Celustka, Altidore, Ba, Giaccherini, Scocco, Mavrias, Ustari
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet names an unchanged side following Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Manchester City, which means that Connor Wickham
continues up front for the Black Cats. Wes Brom, John O'Shea, Lee Cattermole and Adam Johnson all feature.
CHELSEA: Schwarzer; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Ramires, Matic; Willian, Oscar, Salah; Eto'o
CHELSEA SUBS: Hilario, David Luiz, Mikel, Lampard, Torres, Schurrle, Ba
Jose Mourinho has gone for three changes after seeing his team beat Swansea City 1-0 last weekend. Mark Schwarzer replaces Petr Cech in goal, while Oscar and Samuel Eto'o
are both recalled. Demba Ba and Andre Schurrle drop to the bench.
There are currently four other games being played in the Premier League, all of which are enterting the final stages. We'll bring you those results as soon as they're through. Meanwhile, today's early kickoff saw Tottenham Hotspur beat Fulham 3-1 at White Hart Lane. You can read all about that one right here
Anyway, back to this evening's match. Chelsea will go one point clear of Liverpool at the top of the table if they earn the win, while Sunderland need to take something from the game if they want to give their survival hopes a much-needed boost. The Black Cats surprised many in midweek by drawing 2-2 at Manchester City, but their chances of staying up are still very much in the balance. They currently sit six points adrift of 17th-placed Norwich City, although they have a game in hand.
Recent form in all competitions:
Sunderland start the day without a win in their last nine Premier League matches, with seven defeats coming in that time. They've also managed back-to-back victories just once this season.
UPDATE: The full-time whistles have blown in all of today's other Premier League games, so here come those results...
PREMIER LEAGUE FULL-TIME RESULTS:
Aston Villa 0-0 Southampton
Cardiff City 1-1 Stoke City
Newcastle United 1-2 Swansea City
West Ham United 0-1 Crystal Palace
Not great news for Sunderland with Cardiff City and Swansea City both picking up points, but the Black Cats remain six points adrift of safety with a game in hand. However, their fans are sure to have been lifted with the news that arch rivals Newcastle lost at home to the Swans.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet speaking with the club's official website: "We were doing things right but couldn't get anything out of the games, then we went to Man City and did something very special.
"We have to go [to Stamford Bridge] with the same mentality. Yes, they have quality, but let's not worry about them and just play our game.
"It's a tough task but what a nice one if you do it, because you will make history and become the first team in the Barclays Premier League to beat Chelsea and Mourinho at home."
Of course, Gus Poyet returns to Stamford Bridge this evening having enjoyed four years as a player with Chelsea. The Uruguayan joined the Blues from Real Zaragoza in 1997 before leaving for Tottenham Hotspur in 2001. During his time in West London, Poyet won the FA Cup, the Cup Winners' Cup and the Super Cup. Any sentiment from Poyet will be put to one side tonight though. He just wants the points.
HEAD TO HEAD: Chelsea dominate the head-to-head record between these teams, winning 57 games compared to 38 for Sunderland. The two sides have also played out 21 draws.
While Chelsea have been the better team down the years, this fixture has thrown up a couple of interesting results this season. It was Sunderland who came out on top when they met in the quarter-finals of the League Cup in mid-December, winning 2-1 after extra time. They also face each other earlier that month, though it was Chelsea who claimed the spoils as they ran out 4-3 victors in the Premier League encounter at the Stadium of Light.
PREDICTION TIME: Sunderland could well be buoyed by their 2-2 draw at Manchester City in midweek, but it's hard to see past a comfortable win for Chelsea this evening. The Blues' home form in the league under Jose Mourinho is well documented, and they should clinch another win against the Black Cats this time around.
REFEREE WATCH: The official for tonight's match is Mike Dean, who has dished out 92 yellow cards and five red cards in 23 games so far this season.
Here come the players out onto the pitch at Stamford Bridge. The stands are full inside the stadium with the home fans fully expecting a win for the Blues. Can the Black Cats cause a major upset?
KICKOFF! The pre-match handshakes have been done, and it will be Sunderland to kick us off. Here we go!
It's been a decent start from Chelsea, who are looking to stretch Sunderland early on. The Blues win a corner, but Willian's fierce delivery is punched away by Mannone.
Something of a half-chance for Sunderland, who have struggled to get out of their own half during the opening few minutes. A long ball upfield finds its way to Borini, but the Italian can only shoot wide from 25 yards. Not a bad effort, but Schwarzer had it covered.
Chelsea are getting a lot of joy down the right side at the moment, with Ivanovic and Salah linking well to cause the visitors problems. One attack ends with Willian having a crack from the edge of the box that Mannone has to get down low to save. The Blues are dominating.
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-0 SUNDERLAND (ETO'O)
It's been coming. Chelsea make the breakthrough as Samuel Eto'o converts past Mannone. Willian's corner from the left was whipped right into the heart of the Sunderland box, and there was the veteran striker to prod a volley into the back of the net from close range.
Conceding early is sure to be a blow for Sunderland, but let's not forget that they were 1-0 down at Manchester City after only two minutes on Wednesday before coming back to draw. There is still time for them to get something out of this match, though they need to stifle Chelsea if that's going to happen.
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-1 SUNDERLAND (WICKHAM)
Well, well, well! Sunderland equalise completely against the run of play through Connor Wickham. A corner was floated out to Alonso on the edge of the box, whose shot was parried away by Schwarzer. Wickham was then first on the scene to convert the rebound. Not the best goalkeeping from the veteran Australian.
That goal seems to have knocked a bit of the stuffing out of the Chelsea fans. The atmosphere inside Stamford Bridge has dipped a bit. For the record, that Wickham goal was the first one that Chelsea have conceded at home in the league in 14 hours.
There's far more parity in this match now as Sunderland grow in confidence. They're starting to show a lot more confidence when going forward, while Chelsea are looking a bit shell-shocked.
Sunderland's resurgence seems to have been a temporary one. Chelsea are back on the front foot, pushing their opponents back and forcing them to defend very deeply indeed. The hosts are lacking a certain spark up front right now, though there's plenty of time for them to regain the lead.
CHANCE! Almost a second goal for Chelsea as Oscar's free kick from the edge of the box is kept out by the quick-footed Mannone. The Italian had to keep his eye on the ball there because it looked like it was going to creep inside the near post.
One or two groans of exasperation are audible around Stamford Bridge as the hosts struggle to break down their opponents. Chelsea are practically camped in the Sunderland half, but the visitors are defending doggedly. Gus Poyet is sure to be pleased with what he's seen so far. His players are looking disciplined.
CHANCE! So close for Chelsea as Ivanovic's header from a corner is fortuitously deflected onto the crossbar from Mannone. That could easily have ended up in the net. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho has a brooding look on his face down in the dugout. The hosts are playing a bit two-dimensionally at the moment.
A difficult opportunity for Salah there as he glances an ambitious header into the hands of Mannone. Sunderland aren't posing any type of attacking threat whatsoever right now, but they're excelling when it comes to their defensive duties. Chelsea are needing to be patient because the Black Cats are giving nothing away.
PENALTY APPEAL! Chelsea want a penalty when the ball bobbles onto the arm of Alonso, but referee Mike Dean rightly waves away their appeals. Chelsea are building momentum as we head into the final few minutes of the half. Sunderland are starting to look a bit shaky at the back.
Ramires is lucky to still be on the pitch. The Chelsea midfielder appeared to lash out at Larsson with his arm, but it was not seen by any of the officials. That could easily have been a red card.
Two minutes of added time to be played at the end of the first half.
HALF TIME: CHELSEA 1-1 SUNDERLAND
There goes the half-time whistle. Not the best opening 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge, but it certainly came to life towards the end. As for the scoreline, it's 1-1 after Samuel Eto'o's strike was cancelled out by Connor Wickham.
Chelsea will certainly need to improve if they want to get something out of this match. They've dominated in terms of possession, but they've been lacking that killer touch in the final third. Could Jose Mourinho introduce Fernando Torres and/or Demba Ba in the second half? He might need to if things stay the same.
As for Sunderland, Gus Poyet is likely to be pleased with how his team has performed. The Black Cats have needed to be patient up front, but they've done really well defensively. The back four has stayed organised and frustrated Chelsea for much of the match so far.
One of the bigger talking points of that half is the incident involving Ramires and Larsson. The Chelsea midfielder clearly lashed out at his Sunderland counterpart, but referee Mike Dean did nothing about it. The referee will probably claim that he wasn't in a good position, though he was definitely close enough.
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY! The players are back out and it will be Chelsea to kick us off for the second half. No changes for either side at the break.
CHANCE! Close for Chelsea! Willian leads a quick counter-attack before sliding in Eto'o, but the striker can only fire wide from the left side of the box.
No early goal for Chelsea in this second half, but they've started positively since coming back out. One area where the hosts have improved is in their willingness to shoot. The messed around with the ball once too often during the opening 45 minutes.
Chelsea are pummeling Sunderland at the moment in terms of possession, but they're still making hard work of breaching the visiting defence. Jose Mourinho will surely be thinking of making a change soon if he wants his team to seize control of this match once more.
YELLOW CARD! Lee Cattermole receives his obligatory yellow card after dragging Oscar down the ground. That was a cynical one from the Sunderland midfielder.
SUBSTITUTION: A first change of the match for Chelsea now as Demba Ba enters the action in place of Oscar. Can the rejuvenated striker help the hosts find a second goal?
Just over an hour played at Stamford Bridge and there's a sense of apprehension around the ground. The hosts are continuing to huff and puff, but with little end product. Sunderland are still defending well. This has been far from vintage Chelsea.
It must be said that Schwarzer has looked a bit dodgy this evening. He's an incredibly experienced goalkeeper, but he was at fault for Sunderland's equaliser and he continues to distribute the ball poorly. Sunderland sense this and are putting pressure on him whenever he's in possession.
A double change for Sunderland here as Emmanuele Giaccherini and Jozy Altidore
replace Adam Johnson and Connor Wickham. Meanwhile, Chelsea bring on Andre Schurrle in place of Mohamed Salah.
Sunderland are doing really well to force Chelsea into errors. The visitors are playing at a high tempo, chasing the ball down like there's no tomorrow. As a result, the hosts are misplacing their passes and rushing their own play. Just over 20 minutes remaining.
YELLOW CARD! A booking here for Sunderland's Wes Brown after the defender barged into Ba. The Chelsea striker certainly felt that one.
SUBSTITUTION: Chelsea's final change sees Fernando Torres replace Samuel Eto'o. Can the Spaniard keep the home side's title hopes alive? They need a goal...
This is going to be a huge final 15 minutes for both teams. Chelsea need a goal to realistically stay in the title race, while Sunderland fancy nicking the win and giving their survival hopes a massive boost. Expect lots of gaps to appear on the pitch during these final stages.
Torres almost finds the net with a spectacular overhead kick, but the Spaniard's effort goes over the crossbar. That would have been quite the moment for Torres.
PENALTY TO SUNDERLAND!
GOAL! CHELSEA 1-2 SUNDERLAND (BORINI, PENALTY)
Sunderland have taken the lead thanks to a cool-as-you-like penalty from Fabio Borini
! The spot kick was initially given after Azpilicueta had brought down Altidore, allowing the Italian to step up and slot the ball down the middle. There's more drama in the wake of that penalty as Chelsea assistant Rui Faria is led down the tunnel after seemingly having a pop at the officials. He looked very angry indeed.
Chelsea are throwing everyone forward now in search of an equaliser. Could this be the day that Liverpool put one hand on the Premier League trophy? Meanwhile, a win for Sunderland would shake up the battle for survival in the most dramatic way. What a season!
Remember, Jose Mourinho has never tasted defeat at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League while managing Chelsea. That's 77 games. It looks like that record is about to come to an end at the most inopportune time.
Here we go then. FIVE MINUTES of added time...
SUBSTITUTION: A change for Sunderland now as Ondrej Celutska comes on for Seb Larsson.
CHANCE! Nearly a third goal for Sunderland! Giaccherini tries his luck from long range, only to see his powerful drive go narrowly over the crossbar.
FULL TIME: CHELSEA 1-2 SUNDERLAND
What an incredible result for Sunderland as they beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge! Jose Mourinho has lost his first home Premier League match in charge of Chelsea. The Black Cats have given themselves an absolutely massive boost in their bid for survival, while handing the initiative to Liverpool in the title race at the other end of the table.
That's all from our live text coverage of tonight's game, but don't forget that you can keep up to date with all of the post-match reaction right here on Sports Mole. And there's sure to be plenty of it. Thanks for your company and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye!